Taxpayer money to help companies cut emissions ‘doesn’t feel right’ – National

Multinationals such as Heineken could get taxpayer relief to help them cut emissions, National Chief Christopher Luxon said.

Christopher Luxon speaking to the media in Parliament.
Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Support for the “restricted center” is what the National Party wants to see in this week’s budget.

The National Party has said it will back the first three emissions budgets, which set caps on New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions for the next 15 years.

But he also wants urgent help for the New Zealand centre.

An early example of this was his opposition to what he describes as “corporate welfare” involved in using taxpayers’ money to subsidize companies as they reduce carbon.

The government is spending $650 million over four years, as part of its emissions reduction plan, to shift industries away from using fossil fuels.

National leader Christopher Luxon said some companies that would receive funds are extremely profitable, using the example of a large multinational such as Heineken, owner of DB, which could get $2-3 million to remove a boiler from coal.

“It’s something a company can legitimately make that decision on their own.”

He said “it’s not okay”.

Motorists were paying 17 cents a liter at the pump for the emissions trading system which would be recycled to companies to do their emissions reduction “which they should do on their own”.

“You shouldn’t have ordinary New Zealanders subsidizing businesses that are actually in their own interests, to prepare their businesses for the future, to run them for stakeholders who are part of the community and their companies are things you should Good companies will and should do now.

Instead, the government sent a message that if they waited long enough, they would get a taxpayer subsidy to pay for their shows.

Luxon also criticized “whiteboard language” in the emissions reduction plan that would lead to a lot of bureaucracy being put in place to “develop, investigate and facilitate” initiatives.

He also repeated previous criticisms that the government was guilty of wasteful spending.

National would prioritize a national electric vehicle charging network and planning reform, such as faster consents for projects involving renewable energy.

Luxon said the emissions trading system was essential and should contain other carbon removal options, such as blue carbon, natives and carbon capture.

Focus on agricultural emissions research

Rather than giving funds to the likes of Heineken, he said the biggest thing would be to put more money into research and development on reducing agricultural emissions, although he supports the approach. of the government in terms of agriculture in the plan to reduce emissions.

“Essentially there is no carbon emissions or technology roadmap that actually allows us to eliminate agricultural emissions. We should support each other as New Zealanders to lead the world on this and I think we have to change our minds and our mindset about farming to do that.”

He thinks farmers understand that consumer behavior is changing and that the industry as a whole needs to find solutions to agricultural emissions.

“Farmers understand… Their farming practices today are different from 15 years ago and they will be different 15 years from now.”

Unlike transport, there was no roadmap for them to get rid of emissions and the country had to support them to solve the problem rather than seeing them as “bad guys”.

Some companies need a helping hand to decarbonize – Hope

Business New Zealand chief executive Kirk Hope backs the government’s approach to helping businesses decarbonise.

BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope.

Kirk Hope
Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

He said morning report there were two views on the matter.

National said the emissions trading system can be used to set a price that will encourage companies to decarbonize to offset that cost.

The government has now said it will help support this change and National has questioned whether this funding will “crowd out” the measures companies would have paid for themselves.

The new contestable fund would help ensure that changes could be made at a pace and scale that ensured the government’s net zero target would be achieved by 2050.

Many companies lacked the technology to make meaningful change, Hope said.

For some companies, their investment budgets would need to triple to decarbonize, for example, if they were to switch from coal-fired boilers to electrification.

“Massive costs, massive capital… The government says we want it to go faster and we’re ready to help support that.”

The ETS price has already moved and is impacting the economy, Hope said.

“So the faster companies can adapt and innovate, and that’s what these funds are for, to decarbonize, the lower those emissions costs and the costs to the community.”

Hope said the contestable fund would not be around forever, it would help the country reach net zero as quickly as possible and at the lowest cost to the entire economy.

“Of course, there will be companies that will be heavily impacted by the cost of their shows and their ability to do a lot about it at the moment. [is] very little.”

He said it was positive that both major political parties had signed on to the emissions reduction plan and that it gave companies certainty to invest in change.